Master of Violence
by AJ Marks
Toncor looked on at the bridge as the captain quickly made preparations for leaving the system. Things had become very hectic after the latest bit of news, they were coming. The enemy they all believed didn’t exist at all were now about to invade their home. An enemy whose power was unreal in the universe along with their evil. Even now he knew some ships were out there delaying the enemy in a hope to allow more ships to actually escape.
“Incoming call from the Ullis,” the captain said to Toncor.
“Put it though,” Toncor replied, watching as a blue-skinned alien appeared on his screen.
“I hope you’re ready to leave, we can’t hold them much longer,” the alien said.
“You’ve done enough,” Toncor replied. “This alien race is beyond anything we’ve ever encountered before.”
“I wish we could have done more,” the alien said, even as the communications wavered slightly. “Took a hit, not sure we’ll last much longer.”
“I understand,” Toncor said.
“Sorry,” the alien said, turning to someone off screen. “Prepare to leave.”
The screen went blank as Toncor looked back over at the captain. “Are we ready to leave?”
“We’ll be in a safe spot to jump in another thirty time units,” the captain replied.
“I only hope we have that much time,” Toncor replied thinking about it for a few more seconds before making a decision. “Prepare for a jump now.”
The captain’s shocked expression told him what a danger Toncor had suggested.
“You can’t be serious?”
“I am, if the last line of defense has fallen, then if we don’t leave now we might not be able to,” Toncor stated. “Or do you wish to be a slave to them?”
“No,” the captain relied making a decision as well.
“We might only have a few more time units before they arrive,” Toncor said.
The rest of the bridge crew looked worried, even Toncor understood the problem he ordered them to do. Leaving so close to the gravity of the planet could damage the FTL engines. He also understood that if their engines were damage they might not be able to run very far with the enemy so close behind them.
“Get us as far from the planet as possible,” the captain said. “Full power, and prepare for the jump.”
Toncor heard the engines rev up even as the crew nervously carried out the orders. He hoped they had enough time to get away from the planet, but knew time wasn’t on their side. If the crew of the Ullis failed they had no protection anymore. It was a ship from a group of resistance fighters against an enemy who didn’t care about life.
“Solution locked in captain,” a reply came, as the ship picked up speed.
They waited in tense silence as time seemed to pass by slowly. He waited in the chair even as others strapped in as well. He took a moment to look at the view, seeing the planet move away as the ship got further away from it. His home, and a part of him wondered if he would ever see it again, or if he was doomed to wonder space forever a refugee? The question didn’t settle well with him.
“Captain, incoming ships!”
Toncor’s mood sank with the news. They were still out from their position needed to jump safely, but they were out of time. Sharing a look with the captain they both knew what was needed.
“Prepare to jump,” the captain said.
He heard the engines powering up as well as everyone appeared nervous about this strategy. It was a risk they were willing to take to avoid being captured, and their chances for survival were greater than trying to confront the enemy warships which were closing in on their position.
“Three units till they intercept us,” another voice said.
“Engines are done powering up.”
“Jump,” the captain said.
Toncor held on as an announcement went out to everyone on board to hold on as this jump would be bumpy.
The engine whine maxed out as the ship jumped. Toncor was pushed into his seat but felt a bit relieved when the ship remained in one piece. They had made it, away from the enemy and hopefully to a safe spot for now.
Mark made his way down the corridor of the ship heading to the bridge. Things were actually quite peaceful at the moment, not that he expected anything differently. Today they were undergoing some new tests as the Enterprise had left dock with a new experimental engine.
“How are things going?” Mark asked his second in command, Hans.
“About to reach the testing area, the Nautilus is beside us watching the tests,” Mark said.
“All right,” Mark replied. He moved to his command chair and waited a second for the captain of the Nautilus to appear on the screen.
“Hey old man,” Alice said.
“Alice, how are things civilian side?” Mark asked. She had been a former bridge crew member of the Enterprise before retiring to take over as captain of the scientific ship.
“Very well, pays better as well,” Alice said. “And less rules and regulations.”
“Well, are they ready for all of this?” Mark asked.
“We’ll be in position in thirty minutes.”
“That’ll give us time to get ready as well,” Mark said.
“Then we’ll hear back from you in thirty minutes.”
“We’ll be ready,” Mark replied as the screen went dark and he turned back to Hans. “Are you ready?”
“Not really, this isn’t what this ship was built for,” Hans complained.
Mark sighed knowing what his second in command was saying. “I know, but it appears the government thinks the Enterprise is expendable for some reason.”
The Enterprise was the last large warship in the Earth defense force. Classified as a battlecarrier it was the most powerful warship ever produced by humanity, and had become a test bed for experimental engines and other things due to the way the hull had been constructed. They felt it would hold together better than any other ship, and rather than build a new, expensive ship, it was easier to modify the engines of the Enterprise for the tests.
“She is a beauty of a ship not appreciated by anyone,” Hans said, crossing his arms like a kid pouting when he didn’t get his way.
“I’ve been over this with HQ,” Mark said. “Its something which has to be done, otherwise they fear she would be broken up and dismantled. Then we’d be out of a job.”
“Not fair,” Hans replied. “So, what’s this engine supposed to do?”
“Be more efficient in jumping,” Mark replied. “It’s to take off some eight percent of fuel used. A big deal to the corporations doing travel to other colonies.”
“Does it speed things up?”
“Not that I’m aware of,” Mark replied trying to recall the report. “All it should do is use less energy for the jumps.”
Mark understood his friend’s concerns knowing they would be undertaking the test real soon. He felt no concern over the trial, this one was actually less dangerous than previous trials. Everything about the mechanics was sound. If it didn’t work the only thing which would happen was they didn’t jump because the engine didn’t get enough fuel. A simple thing really in his opinion. It was when they went for more speed that was dangerous to the crew.
For this jump he had a normal crew, even the fighter pilots were aboard this time, though they were probably just as bored. Many had been through this procedure once before. Of course he would call for a drill once the jump was completed, and treated it as a drill for the crew, but they didn’t know that yet.
“Is everything ready for after the jump?” Mark asked looking over at Hans.
“What? Oh, yeah, I’m all set,” Hans said. “About the only thing I’m looking forward to with all of this. The pilots don’t know it yet.”
Mark watched as he grinned.
“Its not like we’ll ever use it,” another voice said, as Mark turned to the helm officer, Yvette, a younger officer on the bridge and reminded him of his niece with her blonde hair and green eyes.
“Yeah, but still fun to do,” Hans said.
“Who are we going to go against, pirates, hasn’t been a pirate attack in almost ten years. Aliens? Everyone knows they don’t exist. This ship is a dinosaur,” Yvette said.
Mark said nothing, knowing how the two would bicker back and forth over such things. He kept out of it despite his own feelings. He felt there were no aliens, but kept an open mind in case it actually happened.
Humanity had grown to two colonies now, one finally outside their own system. The first colony was on Mars, which had now become a fertile planet after much work at terraforming it. The other colony was only beginning, but things were going well.
Of course there were several mining colonies in the system, on some of the moons around the large gas giants, dangerous work.
“Captain, we’re in position,” Yvette said.
“Contact the Nautilus,” Mark stated knowing they were about to engage the test.
“Contact made,” Hans replied. “They are standing by at the exit point, waiting for us to arrive.”
“All right, begin powering up of the engines. Notify HQ we’re a go.”
He watched the bridge crew do their work as everyone prepared for the upcoming test. Looking over at Hans who was working despite his protests earlier. He was a good man, always working when needed, but never afraid to give his opinions on something.
“T-minus one minute,” Hans voice said.
Mark could hear the engines powering up, the whine growing higher with each second. It wasn’t a louder sound, just higher in pitch until he finally heard it reach the sound before jump.
“T-minus thirty seconds, engines respond as good to go,” Hans said. “All crewmembers brace for jump.”
Mark checked his straps on his chair to make sure everything was correct. He looked up to see almost everyone else on the bridge doing the same thing before they went back to their jobs.
“T-minus five seconds, four, three, two, one, jump!”
He saw his vision go blurry for a second and was pushed back into his chair as the engines did their jobs. The entered jump with no problems from what he could tell, exiting wasn’t as much of a problem as jumping. You only had to make sure you didn’t exit into something. For that reason certain areas around Earth remanded clear for such jumps.
The jump itself would only a few minutes, just beyond the system to an isolated spot good for testing. Hans appeared ready for the exit, which was when he would call for the alert of the fighters and other personal, except for the engineers or people who had been told and were part of the test.
“Exiting jump in T-minus thirty seconds.”
Mark settled in waiting for everything to occur. He really had nothing much to do except watch as everyone did their jobs correctly. He listened to the countdown and prepared for the exit of the ship and the familiar blurring of vision and gravity disruption. It passed quickly and he found himself looking out into normal space.
“Shipwide red alert,” Hans said, not surprising anyone on the bridge.
Mark waited as the klaxons wailed and the message of red alert sounded all over the ship.
“Fighter squads, be ready to launch.”
Mark ignored that for a moment and looked to Yvette who worked the helm waiting for the report.
“Engines report normal captain,” she said to him.
“Good, send the report to the Nautilus,” Mark said to her before looking over at Hans who was working on the red alert.
It took a few minutes but he finally seemed satisfied, a bit.
“All stations report ready captain.”
“Hmm, a bit rough,” Mark said looking at the time.
“Yeah, not sure that would work for wartime,” Hans answered. “Fortunately we’re not at war, and I don’t see where we would be in the future.”
Mark had to agree with his friend. “Send me the reports, keep them on alert for a few more moments and then stand down, might send a few fighters for a patrol around the area while we wait, get in some practice.”
“Yes sir,” Hans said.
“I’ll be in my office,” Mark said unbuckling himself from the chair and standing.
End part 1